Nick Watney got his postseason off to a good start by winning The Barclays on Sunday. Like most winners on the PGA Tour, Watney put together a solid week of putting and ball-striking to claim the title.
The most impressive stat line for me was that Watney ranked 11th in the field in putts per green in regulation. Averaging only 1.722 putts for each green he hit in regulation, Watney was able to capitalize on his superb ball-striking performance, as he finished tied for second in the field by hitting 54 of 72 greens for the week.
Watney took the lead at the 8th hole Sunday by draining a 20-foot, downhill, right-to-left putt for birdie as Sergio Garcia made bogey. The replay of him making that putt is a great example of what every golfer should do to become a better putter.
There’s a lot of room for preference in putting, but follow these steps and you can become a great putter and start improving your score immediately:
• Constant grip pressure is a must to prevent the putter face from changing positions throughout the stroke. Set your grip and slowly lift the putter above the ground before setting it back down to begin your stroke. Your hands should remain secure on the club (no slipping) and your grip pressure should remain constant throughout your stroke.
• Use your natural rhythm to develop superior touch and distance control on the greens. After determining the speed of the green and the distance of the putt, allow your body to make a putting stroke with good rhythm. That means a pendulum motion that has no trace of deceleration or over acceleration through impact. Let gravity do the work and trust your body to make the correct size swing.
• Ensure solid contact by eliminating any extra moving parts during the stroke. Your lower body and head will remain still as you rock your shoulders in a pendulum motion. If you do this the putter has nowhere to go but back to the ball in the center of the face.
By tapping into your natural ability to control distance, you will see 3-putts disappear. Add some green-reading experience and quality practice in terms of lining up your putts correctly and you will start to drain those 20 footers as well.